Earlier this month, the McCombs School of Business hosted the National Energy Finance Challenge, and for the third consecutive year a Texas MBA team took first place and the $10,000 prize. The 8th annual business case competition took place October 4-5. It is focused on real financial issues in the energy industry, and is designed to put first- and second-year MBA students from top business schools across the country in contact with energy industry executives and recruiters. This year, the Texas team represented a multinational integrated oil and gas company, Integra, and negotiated an exploration and production farm-out agreement with an independent, mid-cap exploration and production company, Explora. Their winning strategy involved opening with an offer and negotiating until reaching a deal that met their objectives. The judges were representatives from the event’s sponsors, Chevron, Deloitte, EMC, ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, Schlumberger Business Consulting, and Wood Mackenzie.
A week before the competition, the competitors were given three days to create their strategies and submit their final presentations. Solutions were presented to the judges in Austin. Texas MBA team member Chase Machmehl says the most challenging aspect of the competition was sorting through the intensely detailed information without knowing how the other teams approached the situation or what the judges expected.
“We knew we had to put our best effort on the table,” Machemehl said. “Whatever the outcome, we were proud of the opportunity to represent McCombs on the national level against such strong business programs.”
The Texas MBA team was made up of second-year students Machemehl, Chris Stanton, and Matt Walters, first-year student Mark Marmolejo, and Dilin Naidoo, an exchange student from McCombs’ partner school in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Wits Business School. Sixteen teams from across the country competed, and in the final round the Longhorns defeated the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. The third and fourth places went to teams from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, respectively.
Machemehl says that the team was motivated by the high caliber of their competitors and their desire to continue Texas MBA’s successful legacy.
“Following two consecutive wins was intimidating,” Machemehl said. “Continuing the legacy of excellence in energy finance at McCombs was a huge opportunity, and I’m grateful for our achievement.”